Smoke from hazard reduction burning from 2 to 3 September 2017

Air pollution due to smoke

Insight into typical air pollution impact during hazard reduction burns (HRB) in the Greater Sydney Region.

23 May 2019
Office of Environment and Heritage
  • ISBN 978-1-925755-97-8
  • ID OEH20190203
  • File PDF 1.3MB
  • Pages 16
  • Name smoke-particle-episode-190203.pdf

During 2 to 3 September 2017, the Sydney region experienced reduced visibility and exceedances of the daily PM2.5 national benchmark at 6 monitoring stations. This was due to smoke from hazard reduction burns (HRBs) undertaken in the north and west of the Sydney basin.

During this period, there was a high-pressure system over the east coast of Australia creating strong temperature inversion and calm atmospheric conditions, which brought light north-westerly air flows into Sydney region. Smoke from the HRBs was transported across the basin to impact Sydney city, which experienced reduced visibility and elevated PM2.5 levels. The afternoon north-easterly sea breeze blocked the dispersion of smoke, causing additional build-up and exceedances of daily PM2.5 national benchmark across Sydney. Smoke continued to elevate the PM2.5 levels, particularly closer to the HRBs near western Sydney, until the passage of a cold front with stronger south-westerly assisted smoke dispersion.

The results from this episode analysis are useful for understanding HRB-related fine particle (PM2.5) pollution in Sydney.